Michigan Sheriff Surprised to Hear Ticket Quotas Were Illegal, Claims Ignorance

Tickets issued in a construction zone will now be voided.

The Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department says they made a mistake.

Deputies gave out dozens of citations last week on U.S. 31 where construction crews are working.

The sheriff decided to offer deputies a paid day off if they gave out at least five tickets on the road.

“Today the prosecutor told us that we went about this the wrong way,” said Tom Bensley, Grand Traverse County Sheriff.

Last week, Sheriff Bensley was approached by the Michigan Department of Transportation regarding safety concerns in the construction zone on U.S. 31.

“Violations were committed and people were issued citations,” said Sheriff Bensley.

At that time, drivers were not allowed to make a left turn onto three and four miles roads.

So, many were cutting through private property.

Sheriff Bensley sent an email to deputies stating if they issued five citations in that area—they would receive a day off.

He says it was an attempt to try something new.

“We thought this was a good method to catch people that were violating the law and to see if that incentive would produce some results,” said Sheriff Bensley.

When concerns were raised—the sheriff decided to ask the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, Bob Cooney if there was any wrongdoing.

The prosecutor says this type of program is not allowed.

“An officer cannot be required to issue a specific number of tickets either as part of continued employment or part of a performance evaluation,” said Cooney. “An officer cannot be offered a fee for issuing citations.”

But, Sheriff Bensley says at the time he did know he was doing anything wrong.

“It’s our bad and we’re owning up to it,” said Sheriff Bensley.

The prosecutor will not be authorizing any charges against the sheriff.

The sheriff’s department says they are throwing out all the tickets issued.

And if you have paid it off, you will be reimbursed.